Laser Mining Guide

So you decided to take the deep dive into mining, great! There are 3 major methods to mining and a sub-method. The three main methods are Laser mining, Core mining, and Subsurface mining. Abrasion Mining is a sub-method because it is necessary for Core mining. Laser mining is the easiest.

Not a Cobra MK III, but something to save your credits for later.

Let’s help you get started on how you want to build your ship and what you need. For this example we are going to use a Cobra MKIII and we are going to make a primary laser miner though we will add some extras on for better space utilization. To show you the ins and outs of how to build, let’s start with your needed optionals as they are the most important for any mining build.

Optional Modules

  • Refinery
  • Collector Controller Limpet
  • Prospector Controller Limpet
  • Cargo Racks
  • Detailed Surface Scanner
  • Shield Generator

Cargo Racks should fill up your largest slots. In this case, your “4” slots. This is to maximize the amount you can bring in from a single haul.

Refinery in the example a 2D Refinery has 3 bins which means you can process 3 different kinds of ore at one time. If you were to upgrade to a 2A, you would get 6 bins.

Collector Limpet Controller is how you passively collect fragments while mining. A-rated Collectors have a long range and a long lifespan. (Point of Interest) If you target a fragment and deploy a collector, it will die upon retrieval. If you passively launch them, they will stay alive until their life cycle ends 10min later or until they crash into an asteroid. (They are not very smart at times).

Prospector Limpet Controller is how you read what ores are available inside the asteroid. Unlike the Collector, you should always run an A-rated Prospector. The quality of fragments increases exponentially the higher the rate. Therefore, you’ll get your best haul from an A-rated Prospector.

Detailed Surface Scanner is how you scan the rings of a planet in Super Cruise and how you identify hotspots/overlaps within the ring. This item is essential to finding the exact location with the best mining spots. There is a bug in the game that when close to a White or Blue star, hotspots will register, but the rings around the hotspots won’t. This is especially the case at “Omicron Capricorni B B1”.

The Shield Generator you may have noticed is not in this build. While unnecessary, it is definitely recommended for new pilots getting their space legs. Unfortunately with the Cobra MKIII, the smallest shield it can have is a “3”, so if you were to install a shield generator, you would have to sacrifice 16t of cargo for a 4D Shield Generator. You just need a buffer and nothing fancy for laser mining.

Core Internals

Let’s move on to Core Internals, while A-rating everything is nice there are certain things to A-rate and others to D-rate. (D-rate is Elite Dangerous’ lightweight modules) Your D-rated Core Internal modules are the ones that aren’t as necessary and when lightweight, give you a greater jump range.

The main things you want to D-rate are your Life Support and Sensors. Both are really unnecessary in a mining vehicle. If you have engineering capabilities, you are going to want to lightweight both of these as well.

Your Power Distributor is going to be your most important piece. If you can only A-rate one core internal item, A-rate it and D-rate everything else.


Lastly, let’s focus on hardpoints. Your 2D Mining Lasers are going to be your bread and butter. Keep in mind that Mining Lasers have an effective range of 500m. This means you need to get close to the asteroid. If the asteroid is spinning eccentrically, use caution. A good way to counteract this is to find the axis and mine there, but that’s easier said than done. In the end, make a decision on if you want to mine a roid like that. Also, 1D Mining Lances are a powerplay item. These run a little hot on the power distributor, but also reach 2km. In my personal opinion, you are better off with the 2D mining lasers.

SSD Missiles are special patches on asteroids that allow you to play a minigame to eject fragments from within the asteroid. When targeted you will see the Subsurface Deposit integrity degrade with every missile used. Once it reaches 0%, the Subsurface Deposit will disappear. SSD Missiles do use ammunition so if you run out you will either need to rearm them at a station, fleet carrier, or you will have to synthesize them from raw materials.

The Abrasion Blaster is used for Surface Deposits on asteroids, but is primarily used in Core mining after cracking an asteroid open.

Utility Mounts

The Pulse Wave Analyser in Utility Mounts will help you find asteroids that contain Surface Deposits, Subsurface Deposits, and Core Deposits by making them glow a yellowish color on the HUD when triggered.

Mining Tips & Tricks

  1. Don’t forget to fill those bins to 100% before you leave the rings.
  2. You don’t need weapons in a mining ship. When you drop-in to the rings around “The Bubble” (The main inhabited area of Elite Dangerous), wait and see if pirates spawn. If they do, they will scan you and leave you alone and you won’t see anymore for your entire time mining.
  3. If you get logged out, get disconnected, or crash to the desktop and you have anything in your hold in the rings when you log back in, it’s best to jettison the haul or just go back immediately to the station to sell. The NPC pirates will likely spawn and attack you.
  4. Optional slot levels 1, 3, 5 should prioritize limpet controllers. save your 2s or 4s for Refineries and Shield Generators.
  5. It’s better to have too many limpets than not enough. They cost peanuts and you can eject them as need be.
    • Don’t Forget Your Limpets!!!
  6. Use your ignore list. Press 1 → Go to Contacts → Select the fragments/commodities you wish to ignore. This is especially important when dumping limpets.
  7. When wing mining, you can target a teammate’s prospector like it was your own.
  8. Eccentricity spinning large roids are not worth your time, especially if you are low on limpets.
  9. LTDs (Low Temperature Diamonds) drop about 4x the fragments of any other ore when using a Sub-Surface Missile.
  10. Once you reach Trade Elite, there is no reason for you to jump outside the mining system hotspot. You’d actually get a higher cr/hr just selling to an FC in-system. 
  11. Always choose Pristine Reserves when laser mining.

For those of you that prefer a visual medium to best learn how to laser mine, try this video. This video gives a start to finish step by step process to understand how to laser mine. Be sure to use the time stamps for the relevant parts.